On Fear and Faith

 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. –Isaiah 41:10 NIV

For the past couple of months, I’ve been working through Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study Breathe.

And I’ve been forced to confront myself.

That may sound strange, but there are things about ourselves we don’t see, things we don’t want to see, things we see but aren’t ready to deal with.

Take fear, for instance.

Now I believe I’m a person of strong faith and thus have not addressed or acknowledged fear. Before this Bible study, I would have said I have no fears. Except bathophobia (fear of deep water), acrophobia (fear of heights), and claustrophobia (fear of being trapped in a small space).

This footlog was wider than some of the others we crossed. (October 2015, Smoky Mountains National Park)

Over the past few years, I’ve conquered some of those fears. I’ve learned to swim in deep water, stepped across narrow footlogs, ridden a ski lift up a mountain, and enjoyed the view 175 feet above Elliott Bay in Seattle on the tallest Ferris wheel on the West Coast. Granted I rode in an enclosed gondola, but there was a time I wouldn’t have even considered an enclosed car, which would have spiked not only my acrophobia but also my claustrophobia.

While I’ve dealt with lots of fears over my lifetime, there’s one I never realized existed until recently. Well, maybe I knew it was there, but I shoved it down deep and refused to acknowledge it existed.

What is that fear?

The fear my dreams will never come true.

The dream of my husband retiring. The dream of traveling with him in our fifth wheel camper without having to worry about time or money.

The dream of a speaking ministry in which my husband and I work together. I have a glimpse of what this can be like, as he’s travelled with me to several speaking engagements.

The dream of becoming a well-selling author of fiction. Best-selling would be nice, but I’ll settle for well-selling. Right now, I’m lucky to break even on the books I write and publish as an independent author-publisher.

Fear that writing fiction isn’t God’s will for me. I’ve asked God to take the desire to write fiction out of my heart if that isn’t what He wants for me. Yet when I think about not writing fiction, instead of peace, I experience sadness and grief.

I keep praying, “God, take the desire to write fiction out of my heart if that isn’t Your will for me,” waiting for God to do it. Yet He has not removed it from my heart. I still love writing fiction.

It isn’t that He hasn’t answered my prayer, but that He has and I didn’t see it.

Have you ever done that?—Prayed a prayer and didn’t see the answer because you were expecting something else? You were looking for a “no” and God was shouting His “yes!”

Can what I want so badly be exactly what God wants for me? I’m still wrapping my mind and heart around this.

The key is wanting what God wants more than what I want. Asking God to give me the desires of my heart—to place His desires in my heart and remove my desires so that I’m on the same page God is.

It’s as simple as A,B, C—Accepting His answer, Believing the dreams He has placed in my heart will come true, and Confidently stepping into the plans He has just for me.

When I wrestle with fear and doubt, O God, give me the strength to overcome and to pursue the plans You have for me with confident assurance and joy. Amen.

Scripture to meditate on:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord will work out his plans for my life. –Psalm 138:8

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. –Hebrews 10:35–36

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13

© 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Lessons from the Lepers

 

 

Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; his love endures forever. –1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV

Tucked away in the Gospel of Luke is the account of Jesus healing ten lepers—nine verses that we may read, think we got the main idea, and move on.

Much is said about the one who, when he realized he’d been healed, returned to Jesus, threw himself down at His feet, and thanked Him.

But let’s not dismiss the other nine as totally ungrateful. Instead let’s take a closer look at this miracle—and what we can learn from it.

First, all ten lepers were in a difficult, impossible situation.

Today leprosy can be treated, but in biblical times it was a death sentence. It changed your life—you no longer had a life, except as an outcast to be shunned. You were forbidden to be in contact with family and friends. If you sneezed or coughed on someone, you’d transmit the incurable disease to them. So you were avoided at all costs.

Leprosy disfigured you. Its stench was nauseating, disgusting, and repulsive—and so were you. You lived your life as a pariah, shouting “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn others not to get near you.

So you wouldn’t be alone, you joined other lepers and wandered about the countryside, a mere beggar because you could no longer earn your livelihood and support your family. You were dependent on the mercy of others, who would slip you money or food to help you survive. You had no pride left.

Your only hope was a miracle, and the only One who performed miracles was an itinerant rabbi, the controversial Jesus of Nazareth. But, hey, He was your only chance. What could you lose if you tracked Him down and asked?

Do you find yourself in difficult circumstances? Remember, God specializes in the impossible. He wants to help you in your circumstances. They aren’t too difficult for Him. All you have to do is ask—and you don’t even have to track Him down because He’s with you all the time (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20).

Second, when they asked for mercy (translate: miracle), Jesus told them to do something.

No words of healing were spoken. No curing touch given. Just a command to “go, show yourselves to the priests”—the normal procedure the Jew was to follow when his leprosy was gone.

They didn’t question. They didn’t argue. They probably didn’t understand the command—but they obeyed.

“And as they went,” Luke tells us, “they were miraculously healed and made clean” (Luke 17:14 AMP).

Remember, although only one returned to say thank you, all ten obeyed. Sometimes God asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense and that you don’t understand. Obedience is prerequisite to the miracle.

Third, all ten had faith enough to ask and faith enough to obey, even though at the start of their walk to show themselves to the priests, there was no change in their condition. Their faith wasn’t in what they could see, in their appearance, or in anything tangible.

“Faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses” (Hebrews 11:1 AMP).

Where are you putting your faith? In what you can see, hear, and experience with your physical senses?

Or in the promises of a God

Take a lesson from the lepers:

Ask. Obey. Believe. Receive. And then rejoice.

How awesome, Father God, that there is more to thank You for than to ask You for! Amen.

Read and meditate on Luke 17:11–19

© 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

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